Spring Garden Aces Championship Test, Beats Marion County to Repeat as Class 1A Girls’ State Champions

Tournament MVP Ace Austin scores 35 points in title game

By Josh Bean | For the AHSAA

BIRMINGHAM – Spring Garden High School repeated as the Class 1A girls’ basketball state champion, beating Marion County in the championship game for the second straight season Thursday at the BJCC’s Legacy Arena.

Spring Garden junior and tournament MVP Ace Austin scored 35 points to lead the Panthers (33-1) – coached by Ace’s dad Ricky Austin – to a 63-31 victory.

“This is such a fun group and it’s great to see them get rewarded like this,” Ricky Austin said. “We’re just living in the moment and enjoying it.”

Spring Garden won its third state championship in the last five seasons and fifth since 2016. In addition, the Panthers also won the 2023 Class 1A volleyball championship last fall.

Spring Garden, which finished the season winning 18 games in a row, opened the championship contest with an 11-2 run, and Ace Austin scored 14 of the Panthers’ 16 third-quarter points to essentially put the game away. She finished 15-of-25 shooting and added 12 rebounds, four assists and four steals.

“I’m just proud of our team and everything we did,” Ace Austin said.

Chloe Rule added 10 points and nine rebounds for Spring Garden. Libby Brown and Maggie Jarrett scored six points apiece.

Spring Garden junior Ace Austin (1), the Class 1A state tourney MVP, leaps high to sink two of her game-high 35 points in the finals
as Marion County’s Jolie Kate Cox (55) defends. (AHSAA PHOTO | David Holtsford)

“The satisfaction to know we can go out this way is more than I could ask for,” said Rule, a senior.

Jasmine Wilson led Marion County (18-15), coached by Scott Veal, with 14 points, five rebounds and three assists. Bekah Junkin added eight points and two assists.

Click here to check out schedules and scores from the 2024 AHSAA State Finals. 

“I think our kids played hard,” Veal said. “It’s kind of like going up against a giant today.”

Play continued Thursday night with the Class 1A boys’ title game featuring Georgiana versus defending state champion Covenant Christian. Finals for Classes 2A, 3A and 4A will be Friday, and Classes 5A, 6A and 7A close out the 2024 state tourney on Saturday.

Marion County’s Jasmine Wilson takes a shot in the 1A state finals at the BJCC Legacy Arena as Spring Garden’s Maggie Jarrett (41) closes in. (AHSAA PHOTO | David Holtsford)

All 14 state championship games are being aired live over the Alabama Public Television Network and live streamed over the NFHS Network.

Ace Austin, Spring Garden (MVP); Chloe Rule, Spring Garden; Libby Brown, Spring Garden; Jasmine Wilson, Marion County; Bekah Junkin, Marion County.

Cover Photo: Spring Garden junior Ace Austin (1), the Class 1A state tourney MVP,  leaps high to sink two of her game-high 35 points as Marion County’s Jolie Kate Cox (55) defends. (AHSAA PHOTO | David Holtsford)

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